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Worst All-Time Twins Tournament, Park Round, Day 3: Sweeping changes

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Featuring big flies, big innings, and big upsets.

Third Baseman William Conroy
The dead-ball era, for one last game, is alive and awake.
Photo by Chicago Sun-Times/Chicago Daily News collection/Chicago History Museum/Getty Images

Gamble Regional

(1) 1909 Senators 11
(9) 1956 Senators 2
‘56 loses 3-0

After being swept into the Gamble Regional, ‘09 did not give ‘56 a chance to repeat.

Instead, they turned the tables.

Wid Conroy’s fifth-inning home run sparked an offensive explosion, ‘09 scoring all their runs unanswered to knock ‘56 into the semifinals with an 11-2 rampage.

Although ‘56 set up a 2-0 lead entering the fifth, ‘09 put up four in the board put ‘56 in a hole from which they would not clamber out. Conroy hit Dean Stone’s third pitch of the inning over the wall, and after Stone loaded the bases with one out, Connie Grob entered in relief. But Clint Courtney committed two passed balls during George McBride’s at-bat, each allowing a runner to score, then threw the ball into center field trying to catch McBride stealing second, bringing home the fourth run of the inning.

‘09 set off another offensive boom in the ninth, concluding their scoring with a five-hit, five-run frame.

Series LVP

Jim Lemon, ‘56 LF
1-12, 1B, 5 K, 7 LOB, .083/.083/.083

Austin Regional

(5) 1981 Twins 8
(13) 1958 Senators 9
‘81 loses 3-0

A back-and-forth offensive affair still ended in a sweep.

‘58 outlasted ‘81 9-8 for their third straight win, avoiding a trip to the Selig Sectional.

After ‘81 scored three runs in the top of the first, ‘58 put five on the board in the bottom of the frame, capped off by Rocky Bridges’ two-run double that knocked Fernando Arroyo from the box after only one-third of an inning.

Though ‘58 added a run in the second, ‘81 took the lead back during the following frames, as John Castino belted a two-run homer in the third before Roy Smalley clobbered a three-run shot in the visitors’ half of the fifth.

But trailing 8-6, ‘58 did not quit. Jim Lemon’s bases-loaded single brought in a run in the fifth, and in the bottom of the sixth, Eddie Yost cracked a full-count pitch over the wall for a lead-changing two-run home run.

That final lead held up, as only three ‘81 batters reached base over the final three innings.

Series LVP

Sal Butera, ‘81 C
1-12, 1B, 3 K, 7 LOB, .083/.083/.083

Hayden Regional (played)

(6) 1948 Senators 2
(14) 1951 Senators 3
-11 innings-
‘48 trails 2-1

With baserunners easy to come by but runs few, it was clear that the next one-run lead would hold up.

It had no choice.

Irv Noren drove in Sam Mele with a two-out, 11th-inning walk-off double as ‘51 took a 2-1 series lead over ‘48 with a 3-2 victory.

Starters Mickey Haefner (for ‘48) and Don Johnson (for ‘51) put up nearly identical stat lines, each allowing seven hits and two runs while walking two. The only differences were that Johnson struck out one fewer batter — six Ks instead of seven — and was knocked out of the game after five-plus innings rather than 6.1.

That sixth inning saw ‘48 tally three quick hits off Johnson, singles by Eddie Yost and Tom McBride and a two-run double from Al Kozar, that summoned Al Sima from the bullpen. Sima put out the fire, retiring the next three batters to strand Kozar in scoring position.

‘51 took just two more innings to re-knot the score. In the bottom of the sixth, Cass Michaels brought home Mickey Vernon with a sacrifice fly, while a frame later, pinch hitter Clyde Kluttz doubled home pinch hitter Mike Guerra.

Both teams went to their long relievers in extra innings. While Dick Starr starred for ‘51, throwing just 17 pitches in 2.1 innings (including a three-pitch 11th), Dick Weik fared less well. Entering in the bottom of the 11th, Weik gave up a single to Mele before striking out the next two men. But Noren lined Weik’s 0-2 pitch to the wall in right-center, allowing Mele to cross the plate standing up.

Zach Regional

(10) 1982 Twins 7
(15) 2013 Twins 5
‘82 trails 2-1

Despite home runs from Joe Mauer and Chris Parmelee, a higher quantity of longballing by ‘82’s batters kept ‘13 from achieving a sweep.

Gary Ward homered twice and Randy Johnson once to lead ‘82 to a 7-5, series-extending win.

Although Johnson’s solo shot in the second gave ‘82 an early lead, ‘13 grabbed the momentum in the bottom of the frame on Parmelee’s three-run blast.

But ‘82 trickled back into the game, scoring in the next two frames, before taking the lead for good in the fifth. With Tom Brunansky on third and two outs, John Castino lined a double to break the 3-3 tie, and Gary Gaetti singled him home, knocking Samuel Deduno from the game.

‘13 cut into the lead in the bottom of the fifth on Mauer’s solo home run, but Ward’s two one-run four-baggers, one apiece in the sixth and eighth, pushed the lead just out of reach; with the potential winning run at the plate with one out in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Doumit and Trevor Plouffe each flew to center to push the series to a fourth game.

Park Round, Day 2 | Park Round, Day 3 | Park Round, Day 4